We’re not suggesting you rely solely on employee activation to market your coworking space in 2023, but it could prove to be a valuable component of your overall strategy.
Essentially, employee activation uses employee engagement as a springboard to get people promoting the organisation they work for – importantly, in an organic way.
This promotion can take place across social media or other mediums, such as blogs.
An engaged employee is one who understands what their role is, what their objectives are, and how these fit into the organisation's overall vision and purpose. They feel included and valued as a team member and are invested in their employer’s success.
An activated employee is one who – already engaged in their work – creates and shares content relating to their role and professional interests. As well as elevating the employee’s profile, it can boost the employer’s organic growth.
But it needs to be intentional.
Some of your coworking employees might already be ‘activated’ and sharing your content across social media. But are you supporting them to do this through upskilling and clear guidelines? And how can you encourage others to do the same?
Let’s start by outlining what employee activation is not.
Some organisations might assume that employee activation involves asking people to share the same business pitch messaging on their social media platforms; content that was created by a marketing exec or a cofounder, for instance.
This isn’t employee activation. Employee activation is about providing the employee with autonomy, not the other way round. Copy and paste messaging can actually have the opposite effect and put people off your brand.
An activated employee doesn’t have to post content that directly relates to your coworking brand, either. An employee posting about the industry in general is going to reflect well on you as an employer too.
Essentially, it’s about encouraging employees to share their professional thoughts and ideas if they want – and to some extent – how they want.
Employee activation makes sense for coworking spaces, particularly independent ones that don’t have a big marketing budget to spend on paid advertising. It also chimes with people’s appetite for authentic, organic content.
The research says it all. According to Social Media Today, content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels.
It’s also logical to assume that employee activation can help when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. If a potential candidate is thinking of applying for a job at your coworking space, seeing someone from your team sharing news of your space’s achievements, or the industry in general, is going to have a positive effect.
As well as helping your brand reach more people, employee activation helps the individual to expand their own network and thought leadership.
Before you start activating your employees, consider what you want to achieve by doing so. Think about both long-term and short-term goals. Here are some general areas to consider measuring when creating your employee activation strategy:
Potential impact on employee retention rates
Potential impact on member retention and revenue
Potential impact on social media and website performance
Potential impact on employees’ professional development
Once you’ve got a general idea of what employee activation means (which we hope you have by now) it’s time to start coming up with a plan of action.
Before an employee can be an active advocate for your brand they need to be ‘engaged’. So if you’re sensing some dissatisfaction amongst your workforce, it might be time to go back to the drawing board in certain areas of your HR strategy.
Here are some things you could do to boost engagement:
Provide training opportunities to help employees succeed and progress in their role.
Educate employees in the different ways they can share their expertise with others, including on social media.
Conduct regular employee surveys and take immediate steps to act on feedback.
Create an opt-in culture: don’t try to persuade employees to sign up for certain social media platforms if they don’t want to, for instance.
Make it clear that brand advocacy can take place within work hours – after all, this is work and an activity that could benefit your bottom line in the long run.
You should ask your employees whether or not they’re already active and posting content about your space (or about the coworking industry in general).
If someone is, dig a little deeper.
What are their motivations? Have they experienced any benefits in terms of engagement? What type of content performs best?
You can learn a lot from your activated employees and apply some of their methods to your own marketing strategy. These employees could also help lead your coworking space’s employee activation programme and assist others in creating engaging content.
Do you have a social media policy for employees?
If you run a small space with a lean team you might not, but it’s worth considering setting some clear guidelines. Your employees will want to know what is and isn’t acceptable to post. Make it accessible, easy to read and supportive.
Don’t assume that your employees will know everything about your online presence. Provide basics such as links to your social media accounts, and examples of the type of content that you post: these are also resources that can inspire and inform user-generated content.
Encourage employees to create their own content, whether it’s a photo of their own workstation at your coworking space or a timelapse video of setting up for an event.
Not everyone will know how to frame a picture, write a snappy caption or create great video content, so share your skills with them. Or consider paying an expert to do it. Why not ask one of your members to share their expertise?!
Ultimately, employee activation can help elevate the individual and your own coworking brand. To ensure consistency and success, integrate activation talk into your meetings, provide plenty of opportunities for upskilling and make everyone aware that they can ask you questions and voice their concerns.
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